One Bridge, Two Stories
For four months the re-opened Manhattan Bridge bicycle and pedestrian path has been dutifully serving East River commuters and sightseers. Initial concerns about how the new path would connect to the existing on street bicycle network are being met on a point by point basis by the City DOT. Their timely response and Manhattan side improvements are much appreciated, but there are still seriously dangerous conditions in Brooklyn.
It is a story of two sides of the East River. In Manhattan cyclists and pedestrians can follow clear signage along a safe and direct route to the path. In response to Transportation Alternatives, the City DOT tamed the motorized assault that storms up the Bowery and across the bridge by installing two stop signs, a blinking red light, and a new crosswalk at the bridge path entrance. The situation on the Brooklyn side has yet to be dealt with. Traffic still careens off the bridge onto Jay St. without any indication of bicycle or pedestrian presence. This is a dangerous situation and needs a crosswalk to ensure safe access to the bridge path. The final plan for the walkway calls for a crosswalk and Transportation Alternatives urges the DOT to install this crosswalk now. Bridge users deserve a safe crossing in Brooklyn that would compliment the crosswalk on the Manhattan side.
The majority of cyclists going to and from the Manhattan Bridge in Brooklyn use Jay St. as a quick and simple way to get to the path. In fact, the official City Cycling Map indicates Jay St. as the recommended on street route. Despite this, the DOT installed "way finding" signs that direct cyclists a dozen blocks out of the way. Instead of directing cyclists on a confusing route they will never take, a simple traffic control device, crosswalk, or sign could be installed on Jay St. that would alert motorists to the presence of cyclists and pedestrians going to and from the path. This would make the preferred route (Jay St.) safer for everyone using Manhattan Bridge.
Cyclists climbing the Manhattan Bridge's 23 stairs in Brooklyn got a hand from the City DOT's Bicycle Program. Cyclists can now simply roll bikes up or down the small ramp the DOT installed.